Am I creating a winner or a loser?

posted on 9th of april, 2009

I have been in the microstock business for less than a year, and every time I’m creating a new image, I still wonder if I’m having a winner, or if I’m just wasting my time with an image that will die in the flow. Over the past months I’ve had so many surprises (good ones and bad ones), that after all this time I’m still absolutely clueless.

My first revelation was when for who-knows-what-reason, I decided to make some textures. I didn’t expect much about them, but they were fast to do, and I needed some new material. To my surprise, even today those textures are my best sellers in every agency I have them.

My other great sellers were another surprise: animal prints. I don’t know why, but it seems everybody loves them (everybody except me).

One other day, I got a little bit more artistic. I felt inspired, and again, who knows why or where, I got the idea of taking an international landmark (I think the first one was the Taj Mahal), and create a landscape with it’s reflection over the sea. I didn’t think that was such a smart idea, considering that there is no sea next, in front or around the Taj Mahal, but after giving it a second thought, finally I decided to submit it, expecting it to be rejected for a new reason: “Image not approved - What were you thinking???” But guess what? It was accepted in almost every agency, and it started selling over and over and over. So, then my collection began: after the Taj Mahal, the Sydney’s Opera, the Egyptian pyramids, the Parthenon, the Roman Coliseum, etc, etc, etc, all of them reflected in an inexistent sea. And I have to say that some buyers have even bought my whole “what were you thinking” collection.

But one day I thought I should be smarter, and dedicated myself to analyse what could really sell. I wanted to make a collection that could be followed by some type of buyers who could use it, for a whole campaign. I came out with some adorable babies and kids, or at least I find them adorable, ‘cause it seems nobody else cares about them. I made about 20 of them, with a terribly poor result, but I liked them so much that I kept doing more and more, just wasting my time. I still don’t get why nobody buys them, as I also don’t understand why somebody would buy an Egyptian pyramid reflected in sea, when it is actually placed in the middle of the desert.

I’m still totally clueless about this market. Sometimes I feel quite frustrated about it, ‘cause I feel I’m wasting hours creating an image that won’t get me more than 1 or 2 bucks, but then some other times I find it quite fun, like playing the lottery and waiting to see if you get the big price, or if you should better try to find another job.

Comments (13)

Comment by Lindaj2 on April 15, 2009

Carina....I did go back and check, and when you make a collection, your collection IS also listed as a collection on the person you added. Also, I did find under "resourses" how a customer can find a collections.

I really appreciate all the help you have given to me. Thanks...Linda

Comment by Cari21 on April 15, 2009

Glad to help Linda!

Comment by Lindaj2 on April 15, 2009

Carina....I did go back and check, and when you make a collection, your collection IS also listed as a collection on the person you added. Also, I did find under "resourses" how a customer can find a collections.

I really appreciate all the help you have given to me. Thanks...Linda

Comment by Cari21 on April 15, 2009

Hi Linda! I have also been trying to find a way to send you a private message but didn't find the way to do it. I'm glad you could make your collections. About how customers find the collections, if they go to the "Resources" area, there they will find the collections area, and there they can search by keywords. What I don't know if the photographers you add to your collections also get the collection in their profile. I just added images that I thought that matched my images, but haven't heard from any of those photographers, but I was told that when they are added to a collection, tyou get a message to let you know. Good luck!

Comment by Lindaj2 on April 15, 2009

Carina....I took the plunge and just tried to add 5 images and it worked....I can see where they were added automatically. But I still do not have the answer as to if a customer can search a category by using keywords somewhere or do they only find them by clicking on a managed collection from a photographers profile?

Comment by Lindaj2 on April 15, 2009

Thanks Carina, that was very helpful. I was able to get up 4 collections so far in the Bio area

....sorry that these questions do not really fit this there a way to contact a person with such questions so as not to clog up a blog with other stuff?

How do you go about getting managed collections? Do I find 5 images and just add them myself using the I.D. number or do I contact the artist first?

What are the advantages to a managed collection? Can a customer search for collections? I haven't found that option anywhere.

When you have a managed collection, does the collection automaticly show up on your profile page or do you have to do something? Does it also show up on the profile pages of the people you have images included in it?

Comment by Cari21 on April 14, 2009

Lindaj2, those are personal collections which people only can see when they go into my profile. If you want to have a public collection, you have to make one adding images from at least 5 other photographers. That collection will be seen by everybody. If you want to have your own personal collections, you can check on this thread at the forum There is all the explanation on how to do them. Good luck!

Comment by Lindaj2 on April 14, 2009

This is off subject....but I noticed you had a lot of collections listed below your name.....I am totally lost on this can they be found, seached, etc. Can buyers search by collections? Or do they only see a collection if they click on your information? How would you ask someone to join you?....or how could you find someone to join with theirs?

Comment by Sil63 on April 11, 2009

I love your babies! :) You never know what buyers like. Keep up the good work - you have a nice portfolio.

Comment by Kbkgraphx on April 10, 2009

I bet if you reflect the babies over water the sales will go up. Images with water reflection are cool & dramatic, hence the sales!

Comment by Dmccale on April 10, 2009

[imgl]http://www.6444757 [/imgl]

keep up the good work.I like this one very much

Comment by Fultonsphoto on April 10, 2009

Ahhh, the million dollar question, what sells? I have had images, which I thought at the time of submitting them would be good sellers, and even thought this may be an editors choice, because I used creativity as opposed to my normal straight forward techniques, and guess what these have all been rejected (guess I am not the creative type - yet). I think most good submitter here has stumbled across a subject or technique that sells (as with your reflections) and although it may not make sense, once you have found this magical selling style, the key would be to ride this wave as long as it lasts. Its kind of like finding a niche or trend that you are able to fill and using that to your advantage, however, this does not mean not experimenting with new ideas or creativeness in the meantime, who knows, your baby collection may be the next new wave in the future. Keep up the good work and keep being creative :0)

Comment by Aughty on April 10, 2009

Keep this job, but also find another one to help with paying the bills. Nice portfolio.

Comments (13)

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Photo credits: , Carina Rubinstein.

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